Well it’s been a mad month so far in the Merlins (and Cadets). After a long racing break, where Toby was part of the Spinnaker Team Racing squad attempting to qualify for the Worlds, the MR was a bit second fiddle. Sadly they didn't quite make it, although making it to the semis at the Wilson Trophy was pretty cool. From then on it’s been a full on race month, after a sustained training bash and sailing downtime (for me at least). It’s the first year were I've actively tried breaking the season up into practice, race, rest type 6-8 week routine. Something I've picked up from triathlons, it certainly keeps you fresh! Dunno if it works, but at least I do the Dad thing from time to time which is always great. The Inlands were awesome, Draycote always do a good event, with a good evening and a very good talk by Stu Bithell on how he won the MR champs with Christian last year. To summarise a good individual race strategy and rehydrate at every opportunity! Anyway, it’s great that he's doing so well in the 470 and it’s a pleasure to be able to race the PROs. Back to Draycote, sadly after a stupendous Saturday, the mast gave out on the first reach on the Sunday. Thankfully, someone very kindly lent us another mast so we could keep sailing for the next few weeks while we sorted out another mast.
The next week we were at WPSA with my daughter doing the cadets. 74 Cadets, 275 Toppers and a host of Olympic squads, all looking at the 25+ knots with various degrees of enthusiasm! I was there helping out my daughter and Kirsten Glenn in the Cadet (plus to get some sneaky practice in the Merlin). We've now nailed our 20+ knot gybing issue thanks to a timely article from Osprey supremo Martin Lewis (Toby’s dad) on how to gybe in a blow! It was great to nail that, despite embarrassing ourselves in front of the Canadian squad. I doubt they were looking anyway. Oh, Kirsten and Rosie got second in the bronze fleet, time to move up to the silver I think. I'm still getting my head round how the cadets do stuff, so maybe more on that another time.
Next stop was Lyme Regis, great event, efficiently run and as ever a super venue. Last time I sailed at Lyme was a 505 Nationals with Ed Browne (now of 18ft Skiff fame) in 1992 when the club was still on the Cobb. Anyway we won the regatta with a borrowed mast which shows how well Alan at Chepstow’s puts them together. However, the tacking in someone else’s water is doing my head in. It's so hard to judge, we got caught out twice (if you were to believe the opposition), the rule I knew, even after being lectured by big brovver, but I've gone from don't even try, to just get in there and back to not on your mothers ninny will I tack in there! Stayed with Jon Turner while we were down there, he’s so enthusiastic about the Merlin, that it’s great to see that talent and ideas bubbling back in the fleet again, no doubt because of the second Dark Star he's boat just built. He's hoping to be a HISC next week with his new boat, which will be great, but boy he's got some work to do.
Off to South Cerny this weekend for more Cadeting, 2 of my girls crewing this time and then Hayling for what promises to be an awesome Merlin Sprocket weekend. We'll have the replacement mast! I wonder if it'll make any odds.